Great Moments in Genealogy
10 December 2022 / 10 a.m. EST
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Presenters: Malcolm Thurgur, John McConkey
Using tools and luck on a brick wall
The only information Malcolm Thurgur initially had about his paternal grandmother was the maiden name and date of birth on her marriage certificate—and both those things turned out to be false! Three years of record searching failed to produce his grandmother’s birth certificate or parental details. However, he did receive clues that eventually led him to succeed in identifying her; Ancestry and other DNA organization's records and DNA analysis gave him the answers he was seeking. Malcolm will reveal how he learned her real name and life history by using DNA and WATO (a DNA Painter tool), as well as many unusual sources including the Coram charity.
Malcolm Thurgur was born in Southampton, Hampshire, in October 1941, in the middle of an air raid bombing!! Malcolm stayed with his mother after her divorce in 1946. When his mother remarried, the family went to live in St. Albans, Hertfordshire. Over time, Malcolm became curious as to who his birth father was. By the time he was 18, he had asked his mother, however, she was never forthcoming. And it wasn’t until he was 50, after the death of his mother, that he met his “sister”. Malcolm never met the father named on his birth certificate or his birth father. However, both Ancestry and DNA gave him the answers he was looking for.
Malcolm went to Brunel University in London and emigrated to Montreal in July 1966 where he worked as a scientific programmer for Canadair (now Bombardier). Malcolm returned to England, where he did a part-time M.Sc. (Mathematics-Numerical Analysis) at Brunel University, he returned to Ottawa in 1970 and has been here ever since. Malcolm worked as an IT Principal Consultant /Project Manager in the private sector and the Federal Government. Malcolm has also been a volunteer for the Tucson Church of the LDS Family History Centre.
Maggie McConkey - what became of you?
Born in 1883, Maggie was the illegitimate daughter of John McConkey's great granduncle, George. As a young child she lived with her mother and later her step-father in London, England. George had returned to his birthplace in Ireland. The 1911 census, however, shows Maggie living with George in Bangor, Co Down. She is still there when he dies in 1917 and she is the main beneficiary of his estate. But then the trail goes cold. Did she return to England or remain in Ireland? Did she ever re-estabish contact with her mother? Did she marry and have children? John describes how this intriguing puzzle was solved.
John McConkey has roots in Northern Ireland but was born in England. He and his wife emigrated to Canada in 1971 and for the past 40 years have lived in Ottawa. John was a 17-year employee of Nortel Networks. He has been a member of BIFHSGO since 2006 and served two years as BIFHSGO's Director of Research and Projects.